Make Managing Restaurant Inventory Less of a Hassle
Managing restaurant inventory is the equivalent of doing taxes or going to the dentist. No one likes to do it, but it must be done. Tracking inventory accurately cuts down on food waste and lost money and can help you plan ahead for busier times of the year.
Although it can be a dreaded chore, there are a few ways of approaching it to make the process less painful. Follow these tips to help you and your staff get through the task and become inventory counting pros.
Be Consistent With It
Count inventory on a regular basis. Some restaurants do it once a week, every few days, or twice a month. At the very least it should be tallied before an order is placed. Mark the scheduled dates and times for inventory counting on a calendar and stick to the schedule.
Keep Food Storage Areas Organized
Think of your pantry, fridge, and other food storage areas like your closet. If you wanted to pull together pieces for the day’s wardrobe, you’d have a much easier time if your pieces of clothing were grouped together by item type. For example, you’d hang all of your jeans together, all of your dress shirts together, and you’d keep all footwear together in order to find everything easier.
Your food storage areas should be organized the same way. Spices should be all in one area, bread should be kept together in another, and produce and meats should be grouped in the fridge.
When employees use part of a food item, make sure they return anything that remains to where they found it. Keeping items together on shelves ensures you don’t leave out a misplaced item—and helps make the job go a little faster.
Wait Until the Restaurant is Closed
There’s nothing more confusing than trying to count inventory as it’s being taken away to be used for dishes. Count your inventory before or after your restaurant opens. The fewer distractions you have, the faster and easier the process will be.
Use the Same Staff Members
If possible, recruit the same employees to count inventory. They’ll become familiar with the process and over time, will be able to complete it faster.
Take Advantage of Technology
Consider implementing restaurant technology that can take some of the burden off of counting inventory. Today’s software can calculate food costs, alert you when inventory on a food item is low, help you see what your most popular dishes are, and just make the process easier and smoother. It also eliminates the need to manually enter each food item and the amounts on hand.
At the very least, download an inventory counting spreadsheet template and customize it for your food supply and needs. A spreadsheet can automatically do some math for you as you enter data.
Counting Restaurant Inventory Doesn’t Have to be a Hassle
Counting inventory isn’t fun, but following the above tips can help you minimize the drudgery. The reward is more accurate inventory counting which can help you keep food costs under control and reduce waste.